About a year ago, I started working out with a friend. I was on my way to being in the best shape of my life. While most of the country was buried in snow, our little mountain town barely saw a flake. As an avid skier, that was disappointing but it did give us a nice warm winter. Something that proved quite useful to my latest crazy idea. Running. Before last winter, I only ran if I was being chased. Even then, I’d be the person who fell down and got attacked or eaten by the wild animal.
Not quite a year later, I’m training for a half-marathon. I’d been regularly running 3-4 miles when I had an opportunity to run a half-marathon and have my entry fee paid. Attached to the email were training plans for a 10K and half-marathon. I decided to go for it. I’m halfway there. I ran 11 miles on Sunday and will run in my first race, a local 10K this Saturday. I did a 3-mile mud run a few weeks ago but it was more about friends and the physical challenge. This is my first real trial.
Not only do I want to finish but I want to run faster. Now “faster” isn’t exactly record-breaking. I ran 11 miles at 5.2 MPH (about 11:30 minutes/mile) and I’m hoping to do the 10K at about 11 minutes/mile. We’re talking tortoise not hare.
One of the things I do to run faster is looking straight ahead and racing for it. It reminds me of the verse Hebrews 12:1-3 (this is 1b-2a, ESV) “let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus.” I’ve been doing speed drills and tempo runs too. Speed work is a combination of running hard for 400 meters then walking repeated so many times. Tempo runs are running faster for a longer period of time. Those runs I do in our neighborhood. Typical of most developments, our roads aren’t straight. That’s when I realized I broke the curves into short, straight lines. The dx if you think in terms of calculus. Because that’s exactly what calculus is, breaking a curve into really short straight lines.
What can I say? I’m an engineer who turns running into a math problem then writes about it. I also learned something about myself and why I do what I do. I write because I’m good at it (using my talents) and run because I’m not. Nothing humbles me like being 5.5 miles from home and having to get back on my own power.
Have you ever done anything and stayed with it even though you’re not very good? Why do you do it?